|Spencer Kirin, left, holds the Sodexo Trophy, which goes to the winner of the Muhlenberg-Moravian game, while his brother, Max Kirin, holds the Centennial Conference trophy.
Muhlenberg athletics photo
By Joe Sager
It’s common for teams to refer to themselves as family.
At Muhlenberg, the Mules (11-0) really mean it – with a handful of players.
The team has a good group of biologic brothers. Consider:
- Senior wide receiver Max Kirin, a co-captain, and junior outside linebacker Spencer Kirin both start and earned all-conference honors this year.
- Senior defensive end Frankie Feaster began his collegiate career playing with older brother John Feaster, who was an all-conference cornerback, and is now playing with younger brother Michael Feaster, a sophomore wide receiver.
- Senior nose tackle Frank Cresta, a co-captain, is the younger brother of former all-conference receiver Phil Cresta. They are the only brothers to serve as team captains in program history.
“We use the term ‘brotherhood’ here and it makes it easy for them to have that when you have a family-like experience,” Muhlenberg coach Nate Milne said. “It really says a lot about our program and our institution as well when you have parents that are willing to send multiples to the same place. It’s a huge moment for a parent to let their child go to college. For one to have, in our opinion, such a good experience here, to have a second or, in some cases, a third child come to Muhlenberg College, it really says a lot about who we are and the atmosphere we have around the program and college, in general. That momentum starts to build and build from generation to generation. Anybody out there with a lot of brothers who want to play here, we’ll be recruiting them all.”
The Kirins, like the Feasters, have the unique chance to go head-to-head in practices since one is on defense and the other on offense. It makes for some intense situations.
“We love competing against each other, especially in camp. We always make sure we get a rep against each other. Everyone loves to see us go at it,” Max said. “Our teammates think we’re too nice to each other. We just love making each other better.”
“All summer and during the season, we’re going at each other,” Spencer added. “When it comes to practice time, we know each other’s moves. We have some good battles. When we go against each other, the whole offense is cheering for Max and the defense cheering for me. It’s pretty fun.”
When Max came to Muhlenberg, he wanted Spencer to follow. But, there was no nagging or anything.
“Everyone in the family was subtly hinting for him to come here, but he found it himself, which was a cool thing,” Max said. “I told him how much I loved the school and, other than that, I didn’t push him. I wanted him to find his best place. We loved playing together when we were kids, especially in high school. We get along great, as most brothers do. The atmosphere around the team here – it was just the kind of team where we both fit in well. The same goes for the Feasters. It’s a place where football is taken really seriously and is a great place to get an education. It’s a good place for both of us.”
Spencer was sold once he got to be around the program.
“It’s a testament to both the atmosphere and culture. Everyone here is a family,” he said. “Even though we may not all be biological brothers, it’s a brotherhood. It’s awesome to be a part of it.”
Having a brother in the program and on the other side of the ball has other benefits, too.
“Being able to learn about the defense is huge,” Max said. “Since I am on the offensive side of the ball, I don’t know too much about how defenses approach things. I love being able to catch up with him and having him explain things from the defensive side of the game.”
Naturally, both brothers have tried to outdo each other throughout their lives. That continues now, but in a positive way for the team.
“It’s definitely been really awesome playing with him for the three years,” Spencer said. “All our lives, we’ve been really competitive. We feed off each other’s success, though. When he goes out and makes a play, it makes me want to go make a play. We push each other to be better.
“It is pretty cool for us and the Feasters. When we’re on the sideline, we get to see our brothers succeed. Then, we get to go in and do our jobs.”
Both Kirins earned all-Centennial Conference honors this year. Max was selected as the conference’s scholar-athlete of the year for football and to the all-CC second team. He has caught 30 passes for 609 yards and 10 touchdowns. He leads the Mules in average yards per catch (20.3). He ranks second in program history with 27 career TD catches. Spencer was an all-CC honorable mention pick. He is tied for first on the team with 40 solo tackles and tied for third with 51 overall stops. He has 5.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.
Frankie is the middle brother of three, so he knows what it’s like to be in both situations – looking up to a big brother and being a mentor to a younger one.
“It’s really a great experience for me. Playing with my older brother, he took me under his wing. Now, playing with my younger brother, it’s a role reversal,” he said. “He found his way right away. Everyone loves him. He came in and made an impact right away for us.”
Like the Kirins, the Feasters are excited to see each other succeed. Apparently, though, it’s a Feaster family tradition to nearly draw a penalty when celebrating a sibling’s first touchdown, too.
“When Frank scored his first touchdown, John was a senior and came running onto the field and into the end zone to celebrate with Frank. I thought he was going to get a penalty for that,” Milne said with a laugh. “The same thing almost happened this year. Michael scored his first touchdown and Frank came flying in from the defensive bench like 50 yards away and was in Michael’s arms celebrating with him.”
Frankie is quick to admit his guilt, with a laugh.
“One of my favorite memories was when my little brother scored his first TD. I was so surprised and excited I didn’t get penalty. He holds for field goals, so he wasn’t coming off the field,” he said. “It was the same thing with me. My older brother sprinted on the field and gave me the biggest hug. It fires me up, though. It’s a family thing. Whenever I see Michael make a play, it makes me want to get out there and do my job harder and play harder for everyone else on the team.”
John gets back to cheer on his siblings as much as possible.
“He travels a lot for work, but he’s always there at the fence to greet me and trying to fire us up. He’s our biggest supporter.”
Frankie likes getting Michael going, too.
“I love talking smack. I call him out every time I see him on the field,” he said. “It’s always fun getting in his ear. I know it burns him up and makes him play harder. I haven’t gotten anything back yet. He just takes it.”
So, does John maintain bragging rights as the oldest Feaster brother?
“Well, he’s the smallest of us, at this point,” Frankie said with a laugh. “He knows his place and where he stands.”
Frankie was named the Centennial Conference’s defensive player of the year for the second year in a row. He spearheads a defense that allowed only 91 points in nine league games. He leads the Mules in both tackles for loss (20) and sacks (11.5). Michael has 11 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
They’ve all turned their attention to Brockport (9-2), though, for Saturday’s NCAA second round.
“It’s win or go home at this point. That puts a little more emphasis on each game and practice because you never know which one will be your last. So, we have to play 110 percent with no regrets,” Frankie said. “We’re really looking forward to playing Brockport. They have some big boys up front and guys who can move in the backfield. I am excited to get after them a bit.”